The Obama Watch

To Save America

"Either we will save our country or we will lose it," Newt Gingrich writes in a book he didn't expect to write.

By 6.30.10

Newt Gingrich begins his new book, To Save America: Stopping Obama's Secular-Socialist Machine, rightly describing the grave, mortal threat America faces today due to the left-wing extremism of the Democrats and the vast failures of the Republicans. He writes:

This is a book I never expected to write. After the victory of freedom over Communist tyranny, of religious liberty over secular police states, and of American pride over the malaise and cynicism of the 1970s, I fully expected America to follow an upward curve of consistent improvement.

I did not expect the Left to ignore the lessons of history and move further into ideological extremism. I did not expect them to react to their meager popular support by seeking to impose a corrupt, Chicago-style political machine on the entire country. After leaving Congress in 1999, I certainly did not foresee Republican failure so vast that it allowed left-wing radicals to take over the House, Senate and Presidency.

America as we know it is now facing a mortal threat. This danger to America is greater than anything I dreamed possible after we won the Cold War and the Soviet Union disappeared in December 1991. We stand at a crossroads: either we will save our country or we will lose it.

Indeed, as I noted last week, Gingrich recognizes that America today faces a challenge equally as grave as the Civil War: "whether the United States as we know it will cease to exist." The present danger is as great a threat, he rightly says, as posed by Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union. He writes, "I'm talking about losing what defines us as Americans…. America is facing an existential threat." (Emphasis added.) America today is once again fighting President Kennedy's "twilight struggle," which we thought we had won, but this time, suddenly and even more ominously, the struggle is internal.

The Secular-Socialist Machine

That threat is posed today by what Gingrich defines as the "secular-socialist machine." The Obama-Pelosi-Reid political machine is secular because it "does not acknowledge God. It does not consider the implications of one's actions beyond the impact they make within one's own life. It does not recognize any higher moral order beyond that which human beings have rationally developed." Such a "purely secular worldview," he writes, cannot "account for the original American understanding of our rights and freedoms," an endowment from our creator of certain unalienable rights.

For those who start thinking "theocracy" any time God is referenced, grab a Corona. Gingrich explains that America's founders avoided "the fraternal twin oppressions of a militantly secular government or a state-sponsored and imposed religion." What they created was a new American model, "a country with no official national religion where everyone could worship as they pleased. But they were also careful not to shut out religion from public life. The Founders saw religion as vital to the survival of republican government because they believed the maintenance of liberty requires virtue." In other words, America is the exact opposite of Iran. Too many of the easily deluded and manipulated need to be reminded of that every morning when they wake up, until they get it.

Gingrich further explains the connection between religion, religious freedom, and our freedoms more generally:

Chasing religion from the public square inevitably lowers public morality. That's because a belief in God limits our tendencies toward hedonism, exploiting others, and abusing power. If you are subordinate to God then by definition you are subordinate to rules that transcend your own ego and your own personal appetites…. A religious worldview inherently limits the purview of government. Even the concept of sin limits government by suggesting that external constraints of right and wrong should guide us no matter what the state says. In short, our core religious values hinder the secular socialists from realizing a government-dominated, politician-defined world of limited citizenship and unlimited bureaucracy. Thus the culture of secularism has to replace the culture of religion if socialism is to survive.

Gingrich continues, "Describing the Left as socialist will be controversial because the Left hate accurate language about their goals. But any fair assessment of the Obama-Reid-Pelosi economic policies shows they are indisputably socialist." Gingrich clearly and accurately defines socialist policies, writing:

Broadly defined, socialist policies favor increased central planning of the economy by politicians and bureaucrats instead of allowing entrepreneurs, businesses, and customers to make decisions in the free market. Socialists also favor government attempts to collectivize the means of production and to divvy up the national wealth. Socialists favor these methods because they insist on equality of results, rather than the traditional American belief in equality under the law. Therefore, they champion a strong, central government to impose equality of outcomes.

Exactly these policies have been embodied in the stimulus, the health care takeover, cap and trade, the sweeping Obama tax increases next year, the Obama budget that has already increased federal welfare spending by one third in the first two years alone, Obama's green jobs scam, and every other jot and tittle of Obamanomics.

As Gingrich warns, "If the Left stay in power, they will transform America into a radically different nation -- a union-dominated, bureaucratically-controlled, high-tax, low-growth country." Indeed, the Left will deprive America of the traditional, world leading, economic prosperity the American people have enjoyed since early in the 18th century. Gone will be the American Dream that has drawn the enterprising to these shores from the world over for 400 years now.

In fact, that tide of huddled masses yearning to breath free has already been reversed by the utter failure of socialist Obamanomics. Not only illegal aliens have begun to return home, lacking the lure of good paying jobs that originally brought them here. Not only has capital flight from these formerly hopeful shores already begun, already limiting our prosperity. Even born and bred, enterprising Americans have already begun to trickle out in search of the opportunity that has previously been the hallmark of America. That is the change we can't believe in that Obama and his socialists have wrought.

Calculated Deception

Gingrich writes, "Once the Left's values and goals are clear, their secular-socialist agenda will be crushed in free and fair elections." That is why the Left has to lie, and why Obama has demonstrated such a consistent pattern of calculated deception, a long-standing theme of this column. Gingrich explains, "President Obama hides his duplicity behind secrecy, clever language, and legalisms. As an apologist for the secular-socialist Left, Obama knows clarity is his opponent; the less the American people understand about what he's doing the better." Gingrich provides "two examples of Obama's fundamental deception of the American people. While he promised a new dawn of abundant energy, he actually planned to declare war on the coal industry; and while he publicly praised the goodness of the American people, he really thinks we're a bunch of angry, racist, gun-toting, religious extremists."

Of course, in Barack Obama you are dealing with a man who taught Saul Alinsky's Rules for Radicals on behalf of ACORN. Gingrich writes, "Many of [Alinsky's] 'rules' are guidelines for engaging in immoral, dangerous, political dishonesty," as explained by David Horowitz in his book Barack Obama's Rules for Revolution: The Alinsky Model. Gingrich also notes, "in his early days in Chicago, Barack Obama taught courses on Alinsky's techniques for community organizing groups. So his endorsement of these tactics of fundamental dishonesty is a matter of public record."

2 + 2 = 4

Gingrich, who successfully led the revolution to overturn 60 years of liberal Democrat domination of Congress, explains how to win the now far more urgent fight against the secular socialist machine. He writes, "Despite the enormous challenge of defeating the secular-socialist machine, I am an optimist for one simple reason: we have the truth on our side. Free people insisting on telling the truth have changed history…. The first step is to refuse to be silenced." And to persist in telling the truth.

Gingrich recounts some valuable intellectual history:

Writing shortly after the defeat of Nazism, as the world faced the rapidly expanding threat of Soviet totalitarianism, Albert Camus wrote in his novel, The Plague, "Again and again there comes a time in history when the man who dares to say that two and two make four is punished with death." Camus was describing…the power of conformity that coerces people into denying the truth and saying things that are patently false but politically correct.

Similarly, the fraudulent party slogans the citizen must believe in George Orwell's classic dystopian novel, 1984, are described by the book's protagonist, Winston Smith, as "2 + 2 = 5." Smith writes, "Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four. If that is granted, all else follows."

The Polish people used the same 2 + 2 = 4 slogan in their fight against Poland's Communist dictatorship after Pope John Paul II's visit there in 1979. They were asserting that the truth would come out no matter what the dictatorship said or did. Ultimately, after a decade of struggle, the dictatorship collapsed and was replaced in free elections.

Gingrich explains the meaning of this slogan in the current struggle against Obama's secular socialist machine. The American people are already emerging from the too easy acceptance of Obama's calculated deception, "but we must accelerate this process; we must even more consistently, even more emphatically tell the truth in the face of enormous pressure to conform to the politically correct lies that now dominate our discourse."

Freedom and Prosperity

The second half of the book is a breathtaking endorsement of sweeping free market economic policies. He calls for an optional 15% flat tax, with each filer free to choose between filing under that with a postcard, or filing a stack of complex forms under the Obama socialist code. He calls for reducing the soon to be highest in the developed world American corporate income taxes to the far more successful 12.5% rate adopted in Ireland over 20 years ago. He calls for abolishing capital gains taxes as in China and 14 out of 30 OECD countries, and death taxes.

He also proposes a 50% cut in payroll taxes for two years, to alleviate unemployment as quickly as possible. After two years, this cut would be translated into

a permanent personal account option for that portion of payroll taxes for younger workers, with the personal accounts substituting for an equivalent portion of future retirement benefits. Given historical capital market returns, workers would get much higher benefits than Social Security promises, let alone what it would actually be able to pay in the future. Workers holding these personal accounts should be federally guaranteed to get at least as much as Social Security promises today. This would provide a continuing gusher of new savings for capital investment, resulting in more jobs and higher wages.

Gingrich then proposes slashing federal spending to fit within the revenues generated by these pro-growth tax policies to achieve a balanced budget within 7 years. That would start by cutting federal spending by the same proportion as the Reagan 1981 budget cuts, which would amount to $180 billion per year today. Then he proposes adopting a budget that cuts federal spending by another $1 trillion over 10 years, as the House did when he was Speaker in 1995, when $1 trillion was still real money. He would terminate TARP and all bailouts, and repeal all unspent, so-called "stimulus" funds.

He would keep the budget balanced over the long run with fundamental, structural entitlement reforms. He would expand the personal accounts until they financed all of the benefits currently financed by the payroll tax, again all at the option of each worker. Note the enormous impact these accounts would have in reducing federal spending over the long term:

These accounts wouldn't just trim the growth of government spending, they would shift huge chunks of it from the public to the private sector, ultimately reducing federal spending by about 10 percent of GDP as the personal accounts replace this spending with market financed benefits. Such spending reductions would involve an unprecedented expansion of personal freedom and personal choice.

Gingrich in his book also endorses expanding the enormously successful 1996 reforms of the old Aid to Families with Dependent Children program (AFDC), which was sent back to the states with fixed, finite federal block grants rather than federal funding to match increased state spending. The result ultimately was to reduce the old AFDC rolls by two-thirds nationwide. These same reforms can and should now be expanded to the remaining 184 federal welfare programs, sending welfare entirely back to the states where it belongs. This would amount to another enormous long-term reduction in federal spending.

Gingrich rightly recognizes as well that restoring another long term economic boom requires "Reagan-style, strong-dollar monetary policies," and unleashing "the private sector to produce low-cost, reliable energy supplies from American sources." He would, of course, "repeal and replace" Obamacare, including all of its spending and all of its taxes.

This is a prescription for another long term, 25-year, economic boom, like Reagan produced. It was Gingrich and the Congressional Republican majorities he led that produced the enormous budget surpluses in the late 1990s, so he is the only political leader today who knows by actual experience how to balance the federal budget.

Gingrich is also the only political leader today with the depth to intellectually outmuscle the secular-socialist machine in framing the debate for 2012, and the standing to stare down their ridiculing Alinskyite tactics. No other possible Republican contender would go nearly as far as Gingrich in reestablishing free market capitalism in America. No other possible contender understands the big picture fight America is in nearly as well as Gingrich displays in this book. No one else has displayed the leadership that Gingrich did in overturning the ruling paradigm in 1994, which is exactly the leadership America needs right now.

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About the Author

Peter Ferrara is a Senior Fellow for the Heartland Institute, and Senior Policy Advisor on Entitlement Reform and Budget Policy for the National Tax Limitation Committee. He served in the White House Office of Policy Development under President Reagan, and as Associate Deputy Attorney General under President George H.W. Bush.